After a car accident, you may have difficulty knowing how to respond and interact with the other parties at the scene while keeping your rights protected. This is normal, but it is important to remember that the way that you behave after an accident may have a significant impact on a subsequent legal claim.
After a car accident, the things you say and the actions you take at the scene may affect the outcome significantly. It is wise to remain calm, avoid speaking to other parties as much as possible, and seek medical care as soon as you can. Even if you do not believe that you suffered any injuries, you may have injuries you cannot yet feel. The sooner that you receive medical care, the sooner you can begin recovering and getting back to your normal life.
Many car accident victims do not have the time to research the legal issues surrounding car accidents or deal with a frustrating insurance company. If you or someone you love recently experienced a car accident, you can speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to assess your needs and protect your rights as you recover. An attorney can even represent you to your own insurance company and ensure that it fulfills its responsibilities as spelled out in your policy.
Don't assume liability
Most people have some form of empathy for others in a car accident, especially if any party suffers injuries in an accident. This is normal, but often leads to unnecessary conflicts with insurers.
If you apologize to the other party at the scene of the accident, you may inadvertently accept responsibility for the accident in the other party's eyes, and they may claim to their insurer that you are at fault. If you do feel compelled to speak to the other party, it is wise to consult with an attorney before doing so.
In general, it is always important to avoid assuming responsibility for the accident at the scene, even if you believe that you are actually at fault. You may not have all the information about the accident, and the other party may also suspect they are liable. It is wise to assume you are innocent until all the evidence gets collected and examined.
Gathering evidence at the scene
Before the accident itself gets cleared away, it is wise to document the scene with your phone or with another camera or recording device. The more evidence that you gather, the more complete a picture you can create when you build your defense.
Although it is unwise to speak to other parties at the scene, if you can get others to speak on the record for you, either witnesses or other parties in the accident, then you should collect these testimonies as well as their names and phone numbers.
You may also want to check with nearby businesses to find any security footage that may contain the accident.
If a police officer comes to the scene of the accident, be sure to get a copy of the police report to bolster your claim.
Protect your rights at all costs
After an accident, it is important to remember that most of the parties involved may not have your best interests in mind, even your own insurer. In order to receive fair compensation for an accident, you may need to build a strong claim that represents your interests and rights. Be sure to use all the tools around you to keep your rights secure. That includes speaking with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.